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No One Goes There
By RD Rivero




“No One Goes There”
By RD Rivero
July 1, 2000

The morning sun.  The cloudless, summer sky.  A gentle breeze swayed and 
serenaded the sparse trees and green bushes that grew in the soft orange sand.  
The rocky plane stretched out forever into the horizon while a bright, blue river 
snaked across the desert.
In an unmarked clearing the Thunder Tank stopped in its tracks suddenly -- 
steam vented from the engine.
Panthro and Tygra stepped out of the cab and rumbled to themselves about the 
cause of the unexpected malady.  The two stood over the exposed parts of the 
engine and tweaked the fuel lines, the ignition, the timing belts to no avail.
Meanwhile three youngsters, the remaining passengers, got silently out and set 
off zealously to entertain themselves by the riverside.
"Do you think we'll ever get to Cat’s Lair?"  WileyKit asked her brother. The 
two kittens stood knee-deep in the brook's slow current.
"No, we're all going to melt out here. I just wish something would happen. I've 
been so bored, so bored I could die."  WileyKat threw a pebble into the river.  
The smooth stone splashed and sunk out of sight.
"Those guys'll never fix the Thunder Tank before night fall.  You think there are 
any wolves out here?"  she threw a small rock across the waters that bounced 
twice then succame to the bottom of the river.
"Wolves or coyotes, I suppose there's not much else.  This isn't such a bad 
place to camp or spend the night."  Together the two scavenged the river bank 
for more handfuls of smooth pebbles.
"What if some animal attacks?"  WileyKit asked.  She sat comfortably on the 
water's edge.
WileyKat stood over her with one fist full of rocks.  The harder he squeezed the 
more stones passed through his fingers.  "Then we'll --"
"Hey.  Hey.  Look at this."
The twins turned to where they had heard Bengali call.  He had not come to 
throw stones with them, instead he had gone his own way to investigate an odd 
rift along the dirt road that he had seen just before the vehicle had stopped.
His friends were at his side while he uncovered the pit.  The hole in the ground 
was deep and dark and wide.  It was not irregular in shape but was circular, 
very circular, too circular.  The Thunder Tank could have fallen in cleanly had 
Panthro not driven as carefully as he had.
"I thought it was only a big ditch until I saw this," Bengali said.  The three 
crouched on the ground over the edge of the pit.  The white tiger pulled shoots 
of weeds and wild plants out of the way.  Underneath the overgrown vegetation 
was a flat stone, carved to blend naturally into the scene.  After that stone 
another was cleared slightly lower than the first.  A second and then a third was 
found even lower.  "They form a set of steps that spiral down the face of the 
inner wall."
"Unreal," WileyKit said.
"I don't know, I don't like it at all," her brother answered.
"By Jagga!  Does everything scare you?  Want to go down there?"
The three friends looked behind.  The adults were still busy, busy enough not to 
notice them.
Bengali decided that he wanted to go and see what was down there in the pit.  
He had to be careful.  Not that the stones were out of shape or loose in anyway 
but that they were covered everywhere with plants and small rocks and 
pebbles.  For all he knew there could have been snakes lurking in the small 
nooks around his feet.  To assure his balance he walked down with his left side 
pressed firmly against the inner wall of the pit.
In two minutes he had only been able to get to the farthest end of the hole.  He 
could then face his friends.  "These plants are making my legs itch," he said.
"Do you see or hear anything?"
"The floor of the pit is dense.  I can't tell what's there.  The wall of the pit right 
under where you two are standing has a huge dark entrance."  He pointed to it. 
The others tried to look down to it but could not see it.
Bengali continued his trek.  WileyKat and WileyKit grew more anxious by the 
minute for their friend's next report.  When he had reached the foot of the stairs 
he looked up to them and they looked down to him -- he stood literally beneath 
them, ten feet beneath them.
"The entrance is the tail end of a steppe tunnel.  I'm going in."
The twins saw Bengali walk to where the inner pit wall should have been and 
disappear.  Their last words from him had been something to the effect that it 
was cold, that dark entrance was cold.
The brother and sister waited impatiently -- they moped, they paced, they 
looked down and around many times.
WileyKat thought about telling Tygra or Panthro what had happened but 
decided not to do so at the last moment.  The adults were gathered around the 
front of the Thunder Tank, their heads and arms worked under the open hood.  
The engine no longer steamed but still could not start properly.  Every now and 
then one of them would sit or lean up against the inside of an open car door, a 
bottle of water in hand.
The children had plenty of time so WileyKat and WileyKit decided they would 
go after Bengali.  They walked quietly and attentively down the spiraling 
stairwell to the base of the pit.  The two felt the biting sting of the menacing 
weeds rub up against their shins.  Quickly they reached the end and nearly 
stumbled over the mass of entangled weeds and vines.
He was uneasy about actually going into the dark tunnel but his sister persisted.  
The tunnel was not poorly lit and the cool dampness was a welcome relief.  The 
tall, convex walls were rough, spongy and wet with the moisture collected 
gradually from the otherwise arid desert air.  Their heads were hit repeatedly by 
drops of water.
The deep cavern entrance led to a dead end.  WileyKat was visibly upset.  
WileyKit hugged him hard for comfort.  They were both afraid but they 
managed to convince themselves that somewhere along the wall there had to be 
an opening large enough for Bengali to have wiggled through.  The twins felt 
along the rough sandy surface.  Their feet splashed in the small pool of water 
that had collected down on the sloped ground.
At last they found something -- a single, triangular opening, an unnatural orifice 
three feet off of the ground.  It was darker than the rest of the place and a 
refreshing breeze flowed out from it.
"Bengali! Bengali!" they shouted up into the opening.
"I'm in here.  You're not going to believe what I've found.  Be careful if you're 
going to climb up."
WileyKat helped his sister climb into the triangular hole in the wall but he would 
not follow, he desperately wanted to stay behind.
The boy listened carefully to what the two spoke.
"Skulls.  Skulls.”
“Why isn't it dark down here?"
"The dim, blue light's coming from all those large, deep pools.  Look down into 
this one.  Look.  It has more tunnels and small caverns along the inner walls."
A silence for a moment or two.
"So many skulls.  It goes on and on and on and --"
"Listen carefully.”  Silence.  “Can't you hear the humming?”
She waited before she answered:  “It's not the sound of running water.  It's not 
the sound of an echo."
Yet another pause.  WileyKat could no longer control himself.  "What are you 
guys waiting for?"
"The humming's coming from someplace underground."
"I think there are more chambers past this column here."
"But the cave stretches out so far away already.  So far away."
"With so many skulls."
"Just skulls and nothing more.  No skeletons I mean."
"Right and the heads are'll broken, too."
"Take anyone, anyone, so we can show it.  We'll never be believed without 
one."
"Come on it's getting creepy," said WileyKat.
There was silence, there was not sound for around half a minute of eternity.
"You heard that, too?  It's not the humming."
"It sounds," said WileyKit, "mechanical.  In the old cartoons robots have that 
crazy, mechanical noise."
WileyKat felt that the walls of the tunnel he was in began to vibrate to his 
slightest touch.  The shallow pool of water rippled in more violent waves that he 
did not cause for he did not move, he did not waddle in it anymore.
"I saw a shadow move."
He jerked quickly in a rush of adrenaline -- the voice of his sister was close, 
closer than before.  The words seemed to have been spoken right next to his 
ear.
"Where?"
"By that pile."
The voices were distant once more -- he could hear them walk away from the 
triangle opening.
"Stop it you guys.  It's not funny anymore."  WileyKat was about to cry. He 
stepped back from the orifice that only then did he see clearly through the 
shadowy vapors of the dark.
"Wait, Bengali, not so close."
"By Jagga!  Is that what I --"
WileyKat's voice failed him when he heard his friends scream.
"Get out of here!  Get out of here!"
"What is this?  What the hell is this?"
"No!  No, I can't get if off.  It's got my leg, Bengali, it's got my leg!"
The voice ended in screams but the assault continued.  A sharp crack, the sort 
of smashing sound an egg would make if broken in two.  A fluid slurp that 
sounded more like a strong vacuuming, like something WileyKat had heard 
before when Snarf vacuumed Cat’s Lair.
"No!  No!  I can't get away!  It's dragging me to its mouth!  It's killed 
WileyKit!  It's killed WileyKit!  It's killed WileyKit!"  Bengali’s voice ended 
suddenly not in a scream but in that same crack, vacuum combination.
WileyKat was not about to believe the worst.  He was sure his friends were 
only playing a cruel joke at his expense.  That was until he, too, heard the 
mechanical sound.  At first he wanted to laugh, he though it was the most 
ridiculous thing he had ever heard, he thought for sure right then and there that it 
was a joke.
He thanked Jagga he had not so much as opened his mouth -- he was already 
climbing up the dark tunnel when the blue light came from the triangular hole.  
Neither WileyKit nor Bengali could have done that, there was something else in 
that cave.
WileyKat ran hard but he kept tripping, the tunnel was too deep and his feet 
were too wet after soaking in the pool of water from before.  He managed not 
to roll back so far each time he fell forward but it seemed to him that he was 
making very little progress, he feared he was not getting out fast enough.
He looked back and saw through the thick blue light a vague form, a metal face, 
shiny teeth that glittered unmistakably in the bright aura.  Two arms outstretched 
from the triangular entrance.
That was it, that was all -- he dashed and broke out back onto the base of the 
pit.  His arms were tangled in the interlocked vines.  His movements were so 
slow and so arthritic that he was amazed he had come so far.
In the pit he screamed while the crazy mechanical sound came closer and 
closer.  The blue light echoed up from the depth.  He was out of breath when 
he felt a cold clasp grab the back of his leg.









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